8 items from 2015
“We’Re Gonna Kill The Swede”
The Criterion Collection gave us the DVD versions of these two excellent crime thrillers twelve years ago. The company has now seen fit to upgrade the release to Blu-ray.
Based loosely on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, both versions of The Killers begin with the author’s premise and then take off from there in very different directions. It’s interesting to see how the respective screenwriters adapted the story and then created two disparate feature-length tales out of it. In Hemingway’s piece, two hit men arrive in a small town looking for “the Swede.” They terrorize the owner, cook, and a customer in a diner in an attempt to find the guy. After the killers leave in frustration, the customer runs to the Swede’s boarding house and finds him in bed with his clothes on. He warns the Swede about the men, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
By Lee Pfeiffer
One of the most rewarding byproducts of reviewing movies for a living is that you will often encounter some prominent gem that somehow managed to escape your attention previously. In certain cases, it's arguable that a film might well be more appreciated many years later than it was during its initial release. Such a case pertains to the 1965 crime drama Once a Thief. Directed by the under-rated Ralph Nelson, the film successfully invokes the mood and atmosphere of the classic black-and-white film noir crime thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s. Although this movie was widely credited as being Alain Delon's first starring role in an English language production, he was among the all-star cast seen the previous year in the big budget Hollywood production of The Yellow Rolls Royce. It is accurate to say, however, that Once a Thief afforded him his first opportunity to be »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
1971 was an incredibly violent year for movies. That year saw, among others, Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack, with its half-Indian hero karate-chopping rednecks; William Friedkin’s The French Connection, its dogged cops stymied by well-heeled drug runners; Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, banned for the copycat crimes it reportedly inspired; and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, featuring the most controversial rape in cinema history. Every bloody shooting, sexual assault and death by penis statue reflected a world gone mad.
It seemed a reaction to America’s skyrocketing crime. Between 1963 and 1975, violent crimes tripled; riots, robberies and assassinations racked major cities. The antiwar and Civil Rights movements generated violent offshoots like the Weathermen and Black Panthers. Citizens blamed politicians like New York Mayor John Lindsay (the original “limousine liberal”), who proclaimed “Peace cannot be imposed on our cities by force of arms,” and Earl Warren’s Supreme Court, »
- Christopher Saunders
'The Devil Strikes at Night,' with Mario Adorf as World War II era serial killer Bruno Lüdke 'The Devil Strikes at Night' movie review: Serial killing vs. mass murder in unsubtle but intriguing World War II political drama After more than a decade in Hollywood, German director Robert Siodmak (Academy Award nominated for the 1946 film noir The Killers) resumed his European career in the mid-1950s. In 1957, he directed The Devil Strikes at Night / Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam, an intriguing, well-crafted crime drama about the pursuit of a serial killer – and its political consequences – during the last months of the mass-murderous Nazi regime. Inspired by real events, The Devil Strikes at Night begins as war-scarred Hamburg is deeply shaken by the horrific murder of a waitress. Through the Homicide Bureau, inspector Axel Kersten (Claus Holm) begins an investigation that leads him to a mentally disabled laborer, »
- Andre Soares
The Criterion Collection has announced its new release line-up for June with five new titles set for a Blu-ray release in June.
On July 7, it will release Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) and Don Siegel’s The Killers (1964). On July 14, it will release Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour, Jan Troell’s Here’s Your Life, and Carroll Ballard’s The Black Stallion. And on July 21, it will release Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale The Killers is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too »
- Scott J. Davis
How 'Grey Gardens' Was Restored To its Squalid Glory (And Why You Need To See It) Christmas comes but once a year...but the Criterion Collection adds new titles all the time, which is kind of like Christmas for film lovers. All films are being released on Blu-ray and DVD. See below for the latest additions, synopses courtesy of Criterion, though you'll have to wait until summer to buy them. "The Killers" (1946 and 1964) Ernest Hemingway's simple but gripping short tale "The Killers" is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too violent for home audiences and released theatrically instead. »
- Elizabeth Logan
Criterion has announced their July 2015 line-up of releases and it's a rather impressive one with the most notable title being a brand new release of the Alain Resnais' classic Hiroshima mon amour (July 14), a film I have never seen and there's a small bit of shame in that fact considering its influence on so many filmmakers and its importance in establishing what is now referred to as the French New Wave. The release is not without new features as Criterion gives it the Blu-ray upgrade: New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie Interviews with director Alain Resnais from 1961 and 1980 Interviews with actor Emmanuelle Riva from 1959 and 2003 New interview with film scholar Fran?ois Thomas, author of L'atelier d'Alain Resnais New interview with music scholar Tim Page about the film's score Revoir Hiroshima . . . , a 2013 program about the film's restoration »
- Brad Brevet
Christian Petzold took a bold step into history with 2012's Barbara, exiling Nina Hoss's heroine into the diaphanous threats and suspicions of a provincial, 1980s East Germany. With Phoenix, his follow-up, Petzold takes this movement into history even further, striking starkly, deeply at questions of identity in a post-war Germany quivering silently with destitution, rage, and willful blindness. In a spectral sequence opening the film directly evoking the eerie clinical imagery of Georges Franju's lyrical horror film Eyes without a Face, Nelly, a concentration camp survivor, returns in quiet to Berlin after having reconstructive surgery following wartime mutilations. The woman who emerges from under the knife cannot be recognized. She emerges as embodied by Nina Hoss—a true queen in today's cinema—and her slender, lean physique becomes that of a post-war zombie, a ghost embodied, tottering and halting, a body not familiar with movements outside the camp, »
- Daniel Kasman
8 items from 2015
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